This week President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi signed Egypt’s new constitution into law. When one thinks of a constitution the words “free people” or “democracy” may come into mind, but in this case, “controversial” and “unfair” now pops into the conversation.
America held very high hopes that after months of violent turmoil in Egypt following President Mubarak’s ousting, that freely elected Morsi would bring in a Golden Age of democracy and freedoms onto the Egyptian people. Right off that bat the name of Morsi’s political party ‘The Muslim Brotherhood’, has made critics skeptical. Now as a new and restricting constitution has passed public vote, there are many fears Egypt will retreat into a Sharia law state.
Although the Egyptian people passed the referendum by 63 percent, it is very odd that only a little over 30 percent of Egypt’s voting population turned out. After the Muslim Brotherhood‘s third electoral victory, it makes me conclude the voter turnout was so small because people felt hopeless their vote against the Islamists wouldn’t really count, or there were threats against certain voting populaces. It seems that this will be only the start of Egypt’s descent back into dictatorship, ironically started by a free election. Morsi having implemented some military rule and changing a constitution with so little voter turnout and enthusiasm would make the most knowledge-lacking of people connect the dots that the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing but a regime in disguise, whom are using the fall of Mubarak as grounds to start a Muslim focused way of life for all Egyptians.
After the passing of the controversial new constitution, Morsi got on Egyptian television and bolstered on about how this passing will bolster Egypt’s economy. If Egypt’s economy was such an important factor to Morsi then a tighter Islamic rule would be the opposite of what he should want. Having his party in power creates protests and critics which would scare off tourists. If Islamic rule ends up extending into even “loose” Sharia Law, western tourists will be very put off, since it’s usual to be “bikini-baring” on the Sinai coast and freedoms from not having to wear headscarves for female tourists. Since tourism makes up such a huge percentage of Egypt’s economy it is a bit absurd or dumb that Morsi claims to have such large visions for Egypt’s economy.
Perhaps if the United States could put more pressure onto Morsi and his government or cut the aide we give Egypt each year, then possibly there could be more encouragement that Egypt will turn more on democracy’s side.